The Pine Cones Writers Den is on fire…

with awards, new releases and milestones reached. What is the Pine Cones Writers Den? PCWD is a robust writers group based out of the Portland, Maine area. Comprised of ten members, spanning just about every genre you can imagine, each monthly meeting takes on a life of its own, as thriller writers critique memoir and chic lit writers critique post-apocalyptic tales. Without a doubt, the depth and variety of critique has led to vast improvements in my writing over the years, pushing me in directions that I likely wouldn’t have considered if I sat around, high-fiving with other thriller writers all the time. Not that I don’t like hanging out with other thriller writers! The group is always busy; submitting to agents,  publishing on their own and striking deals to expand their author footprints. Each meeting brings exciting news and new manuscript samples to the table. There’s never a dull moment. With that said, I’d like to highlight a few of the most recent accomplishments/releases. First up, Tim Queeney, with his second release in two months! Seriously, that’s impressive. Starting with his Perseid Collapse Series Kindle Worlds release, The Borealis Incident, in February, he follows up with book 3 in his Perry Helion thriller-adventure

The Process…

Six Books Later. Never before has the process crystalized so clearly, as it has for my sixth book, The Perseid Collapse. The long overdue sequel to The Jakarta Pandemic has percolated in my head for nearly six months (while writing Vektor), which certainly helped smooth the transition, but I credit “the process” for swiftly delivering me to the starting line…the point where I can start writing. For me, the less time I spend in between novels, the better. I find myself lost without a manuscript-in-progress. Putting words into a story eases that feeling. I often joke around about the”organic” mental process for creating the complex plots in my novels. “Neural Flow” is a term I used recently to some amusement. The Black Flagged series is extremely complicated and deeply nuanced, or so I have been told, and I wish I could keep it all straight in my head. “A Beautiful Mind” I am not. Instead, I rely on a process that appears rigid, but is inherently flexible. Let’s face it, any system based on the placement of yellow stickies on poster board isn’t exactly chiseled in stone. Still, I’ve followed the same process for three novels, which implies a level of rigidity…for the

Black Flagged Character Teasers

Enjoy this sneak peek at the key characters in my upcoming release, BLACK FLAGGED…available in mid-October. The final back cover blurb is also ready. Thanks for the input, everyone. FINAL BLURB You can always check out a sample of Black Flagged here: Prologue Chapter One Chapter Three of Black Flagged CAST OF CHARACTERS Daniel Petrovich Who is Daniel Petrovich? Very few people know the real truth behind this question, and Daniel likely says a little prayer every night wishing each and every one of them a fatal heart attack. In Black Flagged, the reader will meet Daniel behind a sleek, brushed metal desk, buried in MBA level work at Zenith Semiconductor. He’s been hiding here for a few years, trying to forget the past, and build a new life with the woman he loves. Unfortunately for Daniel, some secrets carry a debt that can never be repaid, and certain acquired skills will always hold their value, even in a down economy. Daniel Petrovich will be asked to perform one last mission by his former mentor, General Terrence Sanderson. It’s an easy job for a highly trained operative like Petrovich…a simple killing, right across town, and all in the name of

Clean up day for new novel

As you can see, I have a little mess brewing on my desk. About two weeks worth of sticky notes, with ideas that popped into my head while walking around the house, driving my car…or lying in bed. Most of these notes pertain to a specific scene I am writing, or have just written. Details I missed or changes I feel compelled to make. I gather these and then address each one in turn. I usually tackle a few per day, to keep the pile from growing, but you can see that this system isn’t working well. This is actually a good thing. I’ve been faithfully writing close to a thousand words early each morning, every day for the past three weeks, which is why the pile has grown. All of my time has been spent moving the story forward. Check out the word count at the top of the blog. Not bad. I’m shooting to wrap this thing up around 110K…I can hear Joe groaning. Now to eliminate the yellow mess.

If you don’t have anything nice to say…

Then don’t slam me with an ill constructed review on Amazon. Post it to your blog. If you get as many blog visits per day as I do…I’m pretty sure that your review will live forever in obscurity. However, if you have something nice to say, I’d like to help you get the word out to the masses. I found this unsolicited review of my book while conducting one of my daily vanity searches on Google. http://nicksteckel.blogspot.com/2011/06/book-review-jakarta-pandemic.html What a nice thing to find. Someone who took the time to write an extensive, meaningful, well constructed review of my novel. I actually felt guilty about some of the short reviews I have written recently. Here is someone that invested a considerable amount of positive, mental energy on my book…beyond just reading it. I ask you to take the time to read Nick’s review. I couldn’t have written a more poignant review of the book myself. He really captured the essence of my intention for the story, and for his efforts, I think his blog deserves some attention. Many thanks, Nick. One last note: I added a word count for my next novel to top right corner of my blog. I’ll post

What a character would do…

Or rather be caught dead than doing. Character development is a complicated aspect of writing. Like in our own lives, a glaring inconsistency draws a ton of attention, especially on paper (or e-ink). This post was long overdue, and a minor criticism at my last writers group meeting motivated me to tackle the subject. What was the criticism? My protagonist, male…a former deep-cover operative, pulled a bottle of Riesling out of the refrigerator to share with his wife. Apparently, men don’t drink Riesling. Not even in 2005. And I thought it would go nicely with the Thai food they were eating. I was a little defensive, maybe a little hurt…I like Riesling (not a first or second choice, but it does pair well with spicy food). Alas, everyone agreed that a beer was more appropriate. This is a character compromise I am more than happy to make…if only this was their only suggestion about my new story, Black Flagged. PREVIEW. This is a pretty minor criticism compared to some of the critique I have received over the months regarding the protagonist of my first book, The Jakarta Pandemic. Alex Fletcher, decorated war veteran, and former Marine Corps officer, grates on